by Diana Haecker ~ February 16th, 2011
The Alaska delegation introduced legislation to Congress that would clear the way for an in-state, natural gas pipeline to be built along the Parks Highway. The bill is aimed to authorize a right-of-way along the highway and also through a small portion of the Denali National Park.The in-state gas line project from the North Slope to Southcentral could be in place in the year 2020.
The proposed route is the shortest route for a pipeline through or around the roughly 10-mile bottleneck of the Nenana River Canyon and Denali National Park and Preserve following the existing highway, which passes seven miles through the park.
NPS spokeswoman Kris Fister said that the park service is in support of the project and has been coordinating with other federal agencies to make recommendations. She said that the route through the park is the environmentally preferred alternative.
If the project comes to fruition, the park could benefit from the natural gas to power park facilities at Denali.
Alaska state regulators and financial markets will ultimately decide if this pipeline project will go forward.